As an ecommerce business owner, email marketing is one of the most effective methods to communicate and engage with your customers. Unlike businesses with a store front – where customers are reminded of your brand when they walk past your shop, ecommerce businesses are focused on generating brand awareness through online platforms. Emails are the OG (original) method of online communication – email was developed in 1971 by Ray Tomlinson and today there are over 4.6 billion email accounts. If you’re an online store, email marketing should be a top priority in your marketing strategy, especially considering its high ROI.
One of the best things about ecommerce email marketing is that there are campaigns that appeal to every buying persona out there. From customised campaigns (e.g. Ugly Sweater Week!! – to promote a new line of Winter sweaters) to internationally celebrated holidays, like Christmas campaigns – ecommerce businesses can use a variety of campaigns to entice their customers to visit their website, buy their products & services, leave customer reviews and so much more. Most email marketing tools have templates for all the shopping-worthy events, which makes it so much easier for your ecommerce business to send out showstopping newsletters to your customers.
Here are five examples of ecommerce email marketing campaigns you should consider + best practices from successful brands for each newsletter!
The Welcome Series
A welcome series is a set of between 4 and 6 emails that new subscribers to your email list receive. Generally, these email newsletters introduce your brand and give an overview of the products or services you sell. With welcome emails having on average a 91.2% open rate, it is important to get it right. Welcome campaigns are also used to build trust and establish a relationship (e.g. sending a newsletter introducing your team, photographs of team members included). As an ecommerce business, welcome email newsletters are super important – you can direct potential customers to your website, blog and social media pages by sharing the relevant links in the newsletter. This is also an opportunity to close the deal on the first sale, by giving new subscribers exclusive offers like the example above from Bonobos.com
Best practice top tips:
Use competitions – offer new subscribers the chance to win a prize on their first purchase (e.g. Stand the chance to win a $1000 gift voucher with your first purchase!)
Personalisation – address them on their first name (if you have their details)
Behind-the-scenes video – put together a short clip that tells new subscribers all about your brand, maybe a tour of the warehouse or laboratory (e.g. if you’re selling makeup). This is a great way to build trust and show subscribers what goes into making the product that they love, it also puts faces to the brand – as an ecommerce business, you have to show your customers who you are and videos are a great way of doing exactly that.
It’s a fact – it’s much easier selling to an existing customer than it is getting new customers altogether. Sometimes, old customers need to be reminded of the value of your products and services and perhaps they need an incentive to purchase again. This is where the re-engagement campaign comes in! To improve the conversion rate of your re-engagement campaign, you should always include a special offer or discount – make sure to mention it in the subject line because it gets your subscribers to open the email. These customers know your brand, they might have bought a few products and read your newsletters – all you have to do is remind them of your business.
Best practice top tips:
Win-back gift card – this offer is a popular one amongst ecommerce make-up stores, if you spend more than certain amount (e.g. $60) you get a gift card of (e.g. $15) off your next purchase. This offer works because it could possibly secure two purchases and shoppers love getting stuff for free! BONUS TIP – Try the BUY 2 get 1 Free special offer on products they have been viewing on your website.
Update preferences: This is one of the more creative ways in the re-engagement campaign examples that I came across (example from Office above) – with this campaign ecommerce stores send out newsletters asking the subscriber to update their information or preferences. For example: update your mobile number (to receive exclusive deals via text) or select the clothes you want to receive the latest special offers and discounts for. This campaign works because it re-directs the customer to your ecommerce store website (to update preferences), where they will get to see the latest products. Don’t forget to include a special PROMO code.
Abandoned cart campaign
Few things are as frustrating for ecommerce stores than the abandoned cart. Yup – you can see the shopper viewed and selected the items, but they haven’t checked out yet. Not to worry, there is still hope! According to Shopify, 67.5% of online shopping carts are abandoned before completing the sale. To nudge customers along – research shows that sending 3 abandoned cart emails will result in 69% purchase rate, as opposed to sending just 1 email. As an ecommerce retailer, you simply HAVE to have an abandoned cart email series.
Best practice top tips:
Use reviews – Gather some hero case studies of previous customers and put them together in a newsletter as part of your abandoned cart campaign. In your newsletter, you should remind the customer of the items in their cart (they might have forgotten about it) and include a CTA button that takes them straight to the checkout on your ecommerce site. Depending on the overall checkout total, you could also include a 10% discount on the cart total to sweeten the deal.
Video Tutorials – tutorials are a favourite among make-up and skincare brands, but it does not have to be limited to those types of ecommerce sites! Including links to video tutorials in your abandoned cart email campaign is a cool idea because it might convince customers who were still a bit unsure of the purchase. Seeing how the product is used (e.g. eye shadow palette), how easy it is to assemble (e.g. bookshelf) or the multipurpose use of the product (e.g. a multi-way scarf that can be used as a dress) could be enough to convince the potential buyer to seal the deal. You could even collaborate with an influencer on the video tutorials – have them use your product. BONUS TIP – Unboxing video – if you do not have the budget for a long tutorial video – why not try the ‘unboxing video’ where you open the product on the video and show customers exactly what it looks like!
New Stock & Limited Editions
Example: Hotpoint Fashion
As an ecommerce store, emails are one of the best methods to advertise new product lines and limited-edition products – you know the email is going straight to the intended person. Encouraging repeat buying can be maximised by sending customers updates of new products, collaborations with other retailers, updates of existing ranges. Basically, anything new or extra – put it in a newsletter. For limited editions, many retailers have adopted the strategy of only making a small amount of the product available (e.g. only 150 handbags) which allows them to increase the price and makes the product more desirable.
Best practice top tips
Create a sense of urgency: In your newsletter, you should let the customer know that this product will be sold out very soon, that there are only a certain amount available to be sold or that you are selling the first 50 products of the range at a discounted rate (example above). Basically, you want to create a buzz around the new stock or limited edition, this increases the desirability of the product. BONUS TIP – include a countdown clock of when the products will be available online, Kylie Cosmetics and KKW Beauty use this all the time – it creates so much anticipation, no wonder their online store websites crash when new products are released!
Pre-order products – Before the actual release of new products or limited editions, send customers a series of newsletters that gives them the option of pre-ordering the products on your ecommerce website. This works especially well for customers who are loyal supporters of your brand, especially in the tech industry. If customers pre-order, they can just go to the checkout page of your website and pay for their purchase on the official release date.
🤩👉 Start creating awesome newsletters – Sign up for FREE
Holidays & Seasonal Promotions
One of my favourite excuses to shop are changing seasons and holidays! These campaigns are the corner-stone of most ecommerce businesses, you can customise special offers and sales through-out the year and combine it with the new stock or limited edition campaign to maximise potential sales. More than 60% of consumers prefer to buy gifts online, so whether it’s Christmas or Easter, as an ecommerce site you have to use each holiday to your advantage, people are more keen to spend money during holiday seasons.
Best practice top tips
Using discounts: Send your discounts and special offers in a newsletter – give people more reason to spend money, make it worth their while by giving discounts for the holiday period or even just a weekend (e.g. Easter weekend 40% off!).
Clearance sale: After every major holiday period (e.g. Christmas) you should definitely have a Clearance sale – this sale is to off-load older product lines to make way for new stock or updated ranges. P.s – don’t forget to send out the new stock email newsletter AFTER your clearance sale is done!
Now for some real-life examples 😁
So I went through my email inbox looking for some examples, here’s the best ones!
Email campaign: New products (series)
As an ecommerce business, Netlix has been super successful selling subscriptions to their streaming service. The screengrab below shows how they remind their customers of new series coming out and the most watched series at the moment.
Email campaign: Seasonal Promotions
Cottonon, an Australian retailer with stores worldwide often sends these emails with massive discounts during the holidays. This one was part of their Christmas promotional offers. To sweeten the deal, they include free shipping or delivery as well.
Email campaign: Clearance
I wanted to show an example of the clearance sale newsletters and I found this one from an online pharmacy retailer. Look at the amount of offers in the email – free delivery, cashback offers and click&collect order. Here is also an example of creating a sense of urgency, by telling customers to hurry and not to miss out (on the discounted prices).
Newsletters are a great way for ecommerce businesses to communicate with customers, if the content is engaging and creative – people will want to read your newsletters. Remember to send subscribers consistent newsletters – use every holiday as an opportunity to send a newsletter and try some of the campaigns discussed in this post!